HER Dreams, HER Strength
The abysmal memories of her disturbed childhood inundate her mind every now and then akin to water rushing into a sinking ship. But she fought with all her might against all odds to keep her ship from sinking.
“When I was nine years old, I dreamed of becoming a lawyer,” Aarshiya acknowledged in a packed auditorium on the ‘International Women’s Day’.
“It was an overly ambitious dream for a girl who lived as a displaced person in a territory overrun with guerrilla warfare, dropped out of school to work and provide for her family, got pregnant at the age of 16, suffered domestic violence and faced the challenges of being a single mother in a developing country. Yet now she is regarded as one of the best lawyers in the country and also works as an activist for women’s rights. It has been a long, hard and an arduous journey.
Albeit, my journey was dotted with interminable hardships, I can proudly state my journey has taught me the best lessons of life. Now I look forward to helping all women believe in ‘HER’ dreams and ‘HER’ strength.
I’ve forever seen my mother severely bruised and battered. I do not remember the normal texture of her skin; such was the frequency of assault inflicted upon her. Growing up amidst such detesting and appalling ambience I realized the urgent need of sunlight and knowledge to usher in a change. I could hardly concentrate on my studies. Since my mother used to be unwell most of the time, I had to take the onus of domestic chores as well. One day we mustered up courage, Maa and me in the silence of a dark night sneaked out of the ‘hell hole’. I did not have an inkling that the future had such grave plans for me. My mother succumbed to her severe internal injuries and I as a girl of only 10 was left to fight all alone in this big bad world. As destiny had, I started working in a local restaurant and started school again but this time it was night school. Amidst all these, I was physically abused and ended up being pregnant. I desperately needed to break the cycle of poverty and hence with interminable hardships I managed it all. Finally, today I feel proud to be honored with the ‘Ace Woman Lawyer of the year Award’ while concurrently working as an activist for women’s rights and mothering a bright girl child who recently moved out of the country for higher studies based on her scholarship. I’m glad that today, I inspire many young girls to follow the path of their dreams.
It’s time for the world to realize HER dreams have the power to change the world, we need to have that zeal and resoluteness in us. Come what may HER dreams should be nurtured and coddled. HER identity is her dreams; she doesn’t need to be ear-marked as someone’s wife or daughter; she can choose to proudly retain HER surname if she desires that’s hers for to keep. Learning how to turn disadvantage into advantage is your 'turning straw into gold' moment. It's challenging, so very challenging indeed at the initial stage. But the first steps are victory, after that, however distant the finishing line, you've already won it.
HER DREAMS ARE FOR HER TO KEEP
EVEN IF THE ROAD IS STEEP
NEVER ALLOW THOSE DREAMS TO FALL ASLEEP.
That’s the motto of my life, which I passed on to my daughter and now I want every woman to believe in it.”
Aarshiya finished her speech amidst deafening applause.